In Australia, while each part of the country has their own local route, the main one that covers the whole country is Greyhound . Now as an American, Greyhound conjours up the most horrible images ever. There are tall (and true) tales about people getting stabbed every few years. The Australian version has nothing in common at all with the US company. Even the logo and colors are different! They actually call it “Riding the Big Red Dog”. In Australia, loads of backpackers take Greyhound for transport, but like the Intercity, the buses tend to be kind of quiet too. Sometimes, if you are lucky, on long drives, the driver will pop in a video, but I rarely had the honor. For the most part I got really lucky on my trips and had AC for all my rides except my last one, which I wanted to kill myself during because there are no windows to open, but the emergency exits on the roof and while it was steaming inside, it was raining out. And I guess people were afraid they were going to melt if the water touched them because some people kept closing the windows, so there was no air! I could NOT wait! for that ride to end. And luckily, was done with my trip from Cairns to Brissy at that point. Other then that, the buses were always clean and the drivers friendly and organized. If you buy a bus pass, which most backpackers do, you can reserve your seat online, which is super helpful and most towns have more then one bus a day. But since I am super organized, I would book my seat like 2 or 3 days in advance (a lifetime in the world of backpacking) and I never had a problem. When you check in, most of the time, the driver tells you what seat to sit in. I have no idea how this is set, maybe with reservation time? as I always got a window seat. But like I said, I am super organized and would reserve like a few days in advance. You either show your bus ticket or id before load on. And while technically there is a limit to how much luggage you can bring on, when I was “moving” from SYD to MEL, I purposely took the bus to pray on the drivers good nature and stuffed about twice as much as I should have on. I even told the driver what I was doing and he didn’t have a problem at all. And the bus was PACKED. Since this was a point-to-point ride, I didn’t even have a ticket, just my ID. I was a pro at this point.
Moral: Since I am such a planner, should have probably taken the local bus when doing my whole east coast backpackers bullshit tour and saved a few bucks.